Isn’t it funny how things happen sometimes? A couple of weeks ago I simultaneously noticed that I was approaching my 100th recipe on the blog and that I was preparing to yet again make this cake for my roommate’s birthday. This is my go-to chocolate cake recipe, and once you have it in your repertoire, you will never need another chocolate cake recipe ever again. I promise. Anyway, I was flipping through my cookbook and came across the “real” recipe that I had originally torn out of an Elle Canada magazine, and it was like a classic glass-shattering moment in How I Met Your Mother: something clicked. The credit for the recipe was from Smitten Kitchen, one of my all-time favourite food blogs, and certainly one of the most well-known ones, too. But previous to Smitten Kitchen, I don’t think I knew of or cared about any food blogs, and definitely hadn’t ever thought of writing for my own! So somehow, this little recipe and my curiosity as to who could create such a masterpiece of a cake were the beginning of and the inspiration for all of the food blogging I’ve done to date. Um, and yeah, that’s just how freaking good this cake is.
It’s so good that, if you are a devout Three Cheeses reader, you may already be aware of the fact that I’ve blogged about this cake here. I’ve been meaning to make this cake and take “proper” photos of it to give it the justice it deserves. So, thanks to my roommate’s patience for allowing me to spend an extra half hour fussing over photos and lighting and details before letting him dig into his own birthday cake (welcome to the food blogger’s curse), I give you: chocolate stout cake, recipe 100!
Chocolate Stout Cake
Actually from Smitten Kitchen’s “Chocolate Stout Cake”
Cooking time: 1 hour hands-on, plus cooling time
- 1 cup dark beer (stout is preferred, but any ale works too, Guinness is perfect)
- 1 cup butter
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 2/3 cup sour cream (the thicker the better—use full fat!)
Preheat oven to 350 F / 180 C. In a small saucepan, combine and heat beer and butter until just beginning to simmer. (Careful, it might boil over if you leave it unattended!) Whisk in the sifted cocoa powder until the mixture is smooth. Let cool while you combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. In another large bowl, combine eggs and sour cream until smooth; slowly mix in beer and butter mixture until mostly combined. Add dry ingredients and mix well.
Grease a bundt cake tin and dust lightly with cocoa powder (it’s like flouring, but chocolatey!). Pour in batter, and bake for about 35 minutes, until cake pulls slightly away from the sides of the pan. Allow to cool completely before turning cake out of the pan onto plate. Alternately: Divide batter between two round cake tins and bake for about 25-30 minutes, checking in the last 10-15 minutes of baking to see when cake begins to pull away from the sides of the tin. Cake is ready when a skewer or knife inserted into the thickest part comes out clean.
To make the ganache: Melt 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp milk or cream in saucepan over low heat. Slowly add about 1/2 cup very good quality chocolate chips, or equivalent in finely chopped semisweet baker’s chocolate. Stir constantly just until chocolate is melted and combined with butter and milk; add a flavouring if you so desire (1/2 tsp instant coffee granules, 1 tbsp brandy, a few drops of almond extract, pinch of cinnamon, whatever you like!). Allow to cool slightly, and drizzle over cake. Serve immediately!
This cake stores fantastically in the freezer if need be, and travels very well for lunches or parties.